A traffic police officer in Bangkok has been arrested and suspended from service after he allegedly demanded Bt10,000 from a young motorcyclist in exchange for not pursuing traffic violation charges.
Pol Lance Corporal Chalermchai Yodkaew, 27, a traffic policeman with Vibhavadi Police Station was arrested at 3pm on Monday in a sting operation when he appeared to receive money from a 16-year-old motorcyclist.
On Tuesday, Metropolitan Police commissioner Pol Lt-General Charnthep Sesawet said he had instructed traffic police chief Pol Maj-General Thirasak Suriwong to conduct an investigation of Chalermchai, who had allegedly committed a severe disciplinary violation.
Chalermchai is also facing corruption and extortion charges pursued by the Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and Sutthisarn Police Station.
Charnthep said the officer was immature and just wearing the uniform without “having the spirit of a police officer”.
He added that he had ordered the policeman suspended pending the results of investigations.
Chalermchai was arrested at Sutthisarn Police Station with 10 Bt1,000 banknotes that had been marked in the sting operation.
The young motorcyclist, who remained unidentified, said he had been stopped by Chalermchai at Lard Prao Intersection on February 1. The policeman found that the teenager had not paid his annual motorcycle registration, did not have an insurance policy and was not wearing a helmet.
Chalermchai allegedly demanded Bt20,000 from the teenager in exchange for letting him go, but the boy did not have enough money so the officer impounded his motorcycle.
The teenager then filed a complaint with the PACC and Sutthisarn Police Station, which planned the sting operation, in which the boy bargained for a reduction to Bt10,000 and asked the officer to receive the money at Sutthisarn Intersection.
There is widespread perception in society that police officers routinely accept bribes in exchange for forgiving traffic violations.